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R/GA Reunites The Hoff, KITT for Samsung Smart Home

R/GA reunites David Hasselhoff and talking car KITT from Knight Rider (voiced by William Daniels) in a new spot for Samsung Smart Home.

Hasselhooff talks up the features of the Smart Home, calling it “literally the smartest thing ever,” which causes a fit of jealousy in KITT. The remainder of the two-minute spot deals with the fracture in the relationship between KITT and The Hoff, as KITT attempts to enact revenge and sabotage the shoot. Hasselhoff also has some fun playing on his own character, at one point referencing Knight Rider while attempting to flirt with a boom mic operator — to which she responds, “I think my dad might have mentioned it.” It’s all about as goofy as you’d expect, given Hasselhoff’s involvement, and has some fun moments, although it could have benefited from being edited down a bit from its two minute run time.

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Staffing Changes at R/GA New York


When we last heard from R/GA New York, the agency announced the hiring of ECD Mike Rigby, formerly with Interbrand Australia, to help advise clients on brand strategy.

Today brings word of more changes at the New York office (which will soon begin its transition from an agency headquarters to a fancy hotel): an unknown number of staffers are now unemployed. Here’s the agency’s official statement:

“As with any agency of our size, there are always staff changes occurring. However, we are not currently nor do we plan on executing any large scale layoffs at R/GA.”

We can confirm that Nick Katsivelos, managing director of technology and strategy, resigned to take a position at digital business platform Apigee. CTO John Mayo-Smith resigned to join an unnamed non-profit.

We can provide one important detail: the pink slip party will go down at The Frying Pan on West 26th Street and the Hudson River at 6 PM tonight.

Samsung’s ‘The Match’ Finally Reaches Its Conclusion

Cheil Worldwide teamed up with production company Psyop for the six minute conclusion to Samsung’s ambitious sci-fi soccer epic, “The Match.” The first episode in the series launched all the way back in November.

“The Match Part 2″ picks up with Earth’s Galaxy 11 team trailing 3-1 at the half, and in need of some serious rallying to defeat the alien team. Of course, it’s hardly a spoiler to give away that the team is up to the task. Samsung wasn’t about to end its month long campaign with an alien apocalypse, as that would hardly help them move product. For those who have been following all along, it’s the ending they were waiting for. While Samsung’s timing is a little questionable — “The Match Part 2″ was released just two days ago as a coda to the World Cup, while “The Match Part 1″ made its debut with the opening of the tournament — it has still seemed to find its audience, with over four million views in two days. We’ve included “The Match Part 1″ as a refresher after the jump. Read more

Mike Rigby Joins R/GA NY as ECD

Mike Rigby

R/GA New York has announced the arrival of Mike Rigby as executive creative director, brand. In the role, Rigby will “lead innovative and commercially relevant brand thinking and design across R/GA offices and capabilities in addition to advising clients on how they can effectively express, manage and grow their brands” while partnering with the R/GA business transformation team. He will report to  Global Chief Creative Officer Nick Law.

Rigby arrives at R/GA from Interbrand Australia, where his most recent position was executive creative director. Since arriving at the company in 2010, Rigby helped grow the office from ten to over seventy employees. Since his arrival, Interbrand Australia has taken home awards such as the Campaign Asia-Pacific Specialist Agency of the Year Award and a Cannes Design Lion. Rigby began his career at UK design consultancy The Chase, and has also worked at top British design agencies Pentagram London and True North. In 2012, he was elected as the president of The Australian Graphic Design Association (AGDA) New South Wales and transformed the organization, “helping to usher in a complete organizational restructuring, rebranding and repositioning program that has attracted a younger member base.” Read more

R/GA Sells (Its Building) Out


Today in Relevant Real Estate News: way back in April, Crain’s New York reported that a certain “two story Bauhaus-style building” on Manhattan’s West Side had hit the market and that it would almost certainly sell for $100M or more. For context, said structure has served as the headquarters of one R/GA since 1984, aka “a time when the neighborhood resembled the gritty city depicted in the film Taxi Driver” and Rudolph Giuliani was but a humble U.S. District Attorney dreaming of the day that “a real rain would come and wash all this scum off the streets.”

This morning we learned that their predictions were correct: yesterday Sam Chang, “prolific hotelier” and buyer of real estate, dropped a cool $112M for the structure.

R/GA had been planning to move to a new HQ for some time, though we have no word on where its new home will be (CEO and founder Robert Greenberg bought the spot in the 80′s for a hell of a lot less than nine figures). In fact, we don’t even know how Chang plans to use the building–and neither does he.

The purchase comes with an option to expand the space to 300,000 feet; Chang says that it “might be a residential and hotel combination”, but it will definitely not play home base to another advertising agency.

R/GA Now Accepting Applications for Second ‘Accelerator’ Program


The “agency for the digital” has announced that it’s accepting applications for the second round of its “Accelerator” program, an initiative that’s run out of its R/GA Ventures unit, which is focused not only on integration of design, technology and innovation but enabling startups and doling out investment funds. For its second Accelerator program, R/GA, with the aid of TechStars, is turning the spotlight on to n the Internet of Things (IoT) and Connected Devices space and is looking for applicants ranging from early prototype developers to startups with traction.

In a statement, R/GA boss Bob Greenberg says, ““The power of internet software continues to disrupt industries as it spreads beyond the web and mobile and into devices, machines, and physical environments. For companies to succeed, whether in the consumer or B2B space, they have to create truly innovative technology solutions. However, great technology is not enough. Companies must also create elegant and cohesive user experiences across digital and physical touchpoints, in addition to compelling brands that consumers will care about.”

Those applicants that make the grade will have access to a range of R/GA services, including strategic design, branding, and technology, startups as well as network of senior clients from the likes of Nike, Samsung and Beats by Dr. Dre. In addition, startups that enter the Accelerator program will be eligible to receive up to $120,000 in funding for their brainchild. The application process for Accelerator, which this time enlists the services of industrial design outfit ASTRO Studios, begins today and runs through Aug. 25. Those that make the cut will be notified by Sept. 22 and the program itself kicks off on Oct. 20. You can keep up to date on the project here. Best of luck, folks.

R/GA Reveals Epic World Cup Spot for Beats

With the World Cup a week away, the barrage of World Cup-themed ads isn’t showing any sign of slowing down, and this 5 minute spot R/GA put together for Beats might be the biggest one yet. Indeed, as Adweek writes, the spot seems to “Out-Nike Nike.”

Entitled “The Game Before The Game,” the ad tackles the pre-game rituals of stars such as Brazil’s star Neymar Da Silva Santos, Jr. His pre-game ritual involves talking with his father, whose inspiring pep talk is the heart of the ad. Also featured in “The Game Before The Game” are Spain’s Cesc Fabregas, who kisses the ring he received from his girlfriend precisely four times; Mexico’s prayerful Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez; and Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, who kisses a tattoo on his wrist of his children’s names. Elsewhere stars such as Bacaray Sagna, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Blaise Matudi, Daniel Sturridge, Jozy Altidore, Mario Gotze and Robin Van Persie can be seen slipping on their Beats headphones and doing their thing. Tthe spot is set to “Jungle” by Jamie N Commons & The X Ambassadors and st times takes on the feel of a music video, which makes a lot of sense given the brand. Interspersed with the players’ preparations are fans performing their own pre-game rituals. This includes a slew of celebrity cameos, such as Lil Wayne, Lebron James, Serena Williams, Stuart Scott, and Nikki Minaj. Check out the spot for yourself above, and stick around after the jump for partial credits. Read more

Matt Tepper Joins R/GA as VP, Managing Director CRM

Tepper Headshot low resR/GA has officially announced the arrival of Matt Tepper as vice president, managing director CRM. In the newly created role, Tepper, who brings to the table over 13 years of experience, will “partner with the agency’s teams to help clients strengthen customer relationships and amplify marketing initiatives through CRM and CRM-enhanced paid media.” He will report to Seth Solomons, vice president, chief global client services officer, managing director New York.

Tepper arrives at R/GA from General Assembly, where he served as vice president, head of global marketing. In the role, he led the company’s global and digital marketing efforts, including paid advertising, public relations, partnerships, and marketing technology. Prior to General Assemly, Tepper served as vice president of audience insights and the head of social labs at Big Fuel/Mediavest, where he was responsible for leading multiple product development initiatives, such as a global analytics architecture spanning 47 countries and a social segmentation tool built on an innovative targeting approach. He has also implemented social media programs for clients including Walmart and Samsung, and his programs resulted in sales increases and doubled social engagement. Read more

It’s a Four-Shop Race to Fill Honda’s Digital Needs


American Honda Motor Company works hard to keep up with the competition but hasn’t been quite so successful in the hybrid space. Honda’s Prius equivalent may have been called The Insight, but the company recently pitted all three major holding companies against one another in the search for a bit more of that key noun.

Other campaigns have gone viral (shout out to Michael Bolton) and, according to AdWeek, Honda spends approximately $50 million on digital advertising each year.

Now who’s competing for that money?

Read more

R/GA New York Hires Robyn Tombacher as SVP

tomacherThis week R/GA announced a new addition to its New York office: Robyn Tombacher will serve as SVP of business operations, global capacities.

Before joining R/GA, Tombacher spent twelve years with DigitasLBi and Publicis Groupe. Her most recent role was global operations director; she oversaw staffers at four internal agencies and also served as one of the founding members of Digitas Health and VIVA Women. Her specialties include “reducing agency and client inefficiency and establishing new models for collaboration and delivery.”

R/GA COO Stephen Plumlee writes:

“Her unique blend of expertise overseeing operations on a global scale will ensure that our capabilities are fully utilized to serve both new and existing clients.”